US Army Corps of Engineers
Galveston District Website

Regulatory Division Hot Topics

8 April 2021 - SWG-2012-00381 - Public Notice 
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) Galveston District has extended the comment period for the public notice until April 20, 2021 for the permit application SWG-2012-00381-Space Exploration Technologies, Inc. (Space X) in Cameron County, Texas.  Please submit your comments to swg_public_notice@usace.army.mil.
 
24 March 2021 - Draft Changes to the 2020 National Wetland Plant List (NWPL)  and solicitation of public comments
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), as part of an interagency effort with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), is announcing the availability of the draft changes to the 2020 NWPL and its web address to solicit public comments.  The public now has the opportunity to comment on the proposed changes to wetland indicator status ratings for five plant species in select regions and the addition of 22 new plant species to the NWPL.  The Federal Register Notice (FRN) for the 2020 NWPL update can be found here: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2021-03-24/pdf/2021-05989.pdf.   The public comment period ends on 24 May 2021.
 
The 27 species and their draft 2020 wetland ratings by region, as well as the FRN, can be viewed at the NWPL homepage, http://wetland-plants.usace.army.mil/, under “2020 NWPL Update Information.”  A link to provide general or species-specific comments is also available at this location. 
 
Users are encouraged to submit literature citations, herbaria records, experiential references, monitoring data, and other relevant information.  Specific knowledge of, or studies related to, individual species are particularly helpful.  Commenters should use their regional botanical and ecological expertise, field observations, reviews of the most recent indicator status information, appropriate botanical literature, floras, herbarium specimens with notation of habitat and associated species, habit data, relevant studies, and historic list information.  Providing ratings without supporting documentation or information is not recommended.  All submitted comments and information will be compiled and sent to the National Panel for their consideration.
 
USACE is also seeking comments regarding the administrative change to the South Pacific Islands subregion and the NWPL update process.  Detailed information on the update process, protocol, and technical issues can be found in the following documents (available on the “NWPL Publications” web page referenced above):
1. Lichvar, Robert W. and Minkin, Paul. Concepts and Procedures for Updating the National Wetland Plant List. Sept 2008. ERDC/CRREL TN-08-3
2. Lichvar, Robert W. and Gillrich, Jennifer J. Final Protocol for Assigning Wetland Indicator Status Ratings during National Wetland Plant List Update. Sept 2011. ERDC/CRREL TN-11-1
 
USACE administers the NWPL for the United States and its territories.  The NWPL provides plant species indicator status ratings, which are used in determining whether the hydrophytic vegetation factor is met when conducting wetland delineations under the Clean Water Act and wetland determinations under the Wetland Conservation Provisions of the Food Security Act. Other applications of the NWPL include wetland restoration, establishment, and enhancement projects.  Additions or deletions to the NWPL represent new records, range extensions, nomenclatural and taxonomic changes, and newly proposed species.  The latest review process began in 2020 and included review by Regional Panels and the National Panel.  
 

8 March 2021 - 2021-A Texas Regional Conditions, Texas Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 401 Water Quality Certifications, and Texas Coastal Zone Management Act Consistency-Public Notice

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) Southwestern Galveston District, on 8 March 2021, published a public notice to announce and convey the 2021-A Texas Regional Conditions, Texas CWA Section 401 Water Quality Certifications, and the Texas Coastal Zone Management Act consistencies.  These documents and certifications will go into effect for the subject 16 nationwide permits (NWPs) on 15 March 2021 and are enclosed with the public notice.  The Corps is not seeking comments at this time.  The public notice is available here.

13 January 2021 - 2021 NWP Reissuance - Public Notice 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), on January 13, 2021, published a final rule in the Federal Register (86 FR 2744) announcing the reissuance of 12 existing nationwide permits (NWPs) and four new NWPs, as well as the reissuance of NWP general conditions and definitions with some modifications. These 16 NWPs will go into effect on March 15, 2021, and will expire on March 14, 2026. The public notice is available here.

30 September 2020 - 2020 NWP Renewal - Texas RGC - Public Notice

The Galveston District, as the lead Corps district for the State of Texas, is seeking comments on the proposed Texas Regional Conditions associated with the renewal of the nationwide permit program.  2020 NWP Renewal - Texas RGC - Public Notice

15 September 2020 - Army Corps of Engineers announces proposal to renew and revise nationwide permits

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced today that it has prepared its proposal to renew and revise 52 nationwide permits for work in wetlands and other waters that are regulated by Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and/or Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899. The proposal was published in the Federal Register today. The public comment period ends on November 16, 2020. The proposed rule is available through the Federal Register web site at: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/09/15/2020-17116/proposal-to-reissue-and-modify-nationwide-permits.  The news release is available here.

25 August 2020 - Flood Recovery and Repair Activities in the Galveston District

 

The purpose of this Special Public Notice is to provide guidance and a summary of exemptions and permits which may be required for the protection and repair of existing flood or other storm related damaged structures, damaged land areas, damaged fills, and response operations under the authority of Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (33 USC 403) and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33 USC 1344). 

7 July 2020 - Regulatory Division Electronic Submittal Instructions

On July 19, 2020, the Galveston District’s Regulatory Division, will begin its transition into a paperless/electronic submittal as our primary means of accepting Regulatory business submittals. This includes, but is not limited to: Pre-application Meeting Requests, Applications for Section 10 Rivers and Harbors Act and Section 404 Clean Water Act Permits, Aquatic Resource Delineation Verifications, Jurisdictional Determinations, Mitigation Proposals, Purported Permit Non-Compliance and Alleged Non-Permitted Violations.  Please see the Special Public Notice for additional information.

22 Jun 2020 - Navigable Waters Protection Rule becomes effective

 

The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Army’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR):  Definition of “Waters of the United States” became effective on June 22, 2020 in 49 states and all US territories. A preliminary injunction has been granted for the state of Colorado.  Federal jurisdiction in Colorado will be determined using the 2019 Rule (the recodification of the 1986 Regulations) and associated 2003/2008 (SWANCC/Rapanos) guidance documents.  The NWPR establishes the scope of federal regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act.  The NWPR includes four simple categories of jurisdictional waters and provides specific exclusions for many water features that traditionally have not been regulated.  The Federal Register notice is available at https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/04/21/2020-02500/the-navigable-waters-protection-rule-definition-of-waters-of-the-united-states.  Additional information about the rule can be found on the EPA’s website at https://www.epa.gov/nwpr.

18 May 2020 - Final 2018 National Wetland Plant List (NWPL)

 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), as part of an interagency effort with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), is announcing the availability of the final 2018 National Wetland Plant List (NWPL). The Federal Register Notice for the 2018 NWPL update can be found here: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2020-05-18/pdf/2020-10630.pdf.

The NWPL provides plant species indicator status ratings, which are used in determining whether the hydrophytic vegetation factor is met when conducting wetland delineations under the Clean Water Act and wetland determinations under the Wetland Conservation Provisions of the Food Security Act. Other applications of the NWPL include wetland restoration, establishment, and enhancement projects. The list is effective as of May 18, 2020 and will be used in any wetland delineations performed after this date. Completed wetland delineation/determination forms should reference the version of the NWPL used to complete the form.  The final NWPL is available at http://wetland-plants.usace.army.mil/.  State, regional, and national lists can also be downloaded from this site.

18 March 2020 -Announcement regarding the COVID-19 response plan

Beginning March 18, 2020, the Galveston District’s Regulatory Division began utilization of telework for all staff, including the Corpus Christi Regulatory Field Office.  Telework will continue for an undetermined amount of time.  During this period Regulatory personnel will be working from home utilizing alternative technology to access work files and communicate via email.  Personnel have received guidance to evaluate risk involved with conducting local travel to perform site visits, and when asked to participate in interagency and applicant/consultant meetings.  They have also received direction to remain aware of and adhere to local/municipality and state proclamations regarding participation in gatherings and meetings and exercise flexibility in methods of participation for meetings that USACE normally hosts.

To ensure the continued delivery of the nation’s Regulatory Program, additional flexibility to standard requirements will be implemented.  Electronic submittals and signatures will be utilized when possible.  Also, virtual meeting capabilities, such as webinars or use of Skype, will be used in certain instances.   Applicants, resource agencies and the general public should continue to submit information via previously utilized methods such as mail, email and telephonic contact.  Please be aware that there will be no personnel in either of the offices and the best form of contact at this time is via email.  We realize that this will impact all work products that are currently being evaluated by the Galveston District, but please understand that we are working to identify all strategies to make this impact minimal while doing our part to keep the public and our workforce safe.  This announcement will be periodically updated as procedures and strategies are identified and implemented as we work through these challenging times, so please check back regularly.

Historical Regulatory Hot Topics


Special Public Notice - SWG-1998-01818 - The Port of Houston Authority - Galveston Bay - Harris County, Texas

Special Public Notice - Regulatory Division Electronic Submittal Instruction

Important Information on the Department of the Army Permitting Process and use of Nationwide Permits in the San Jacinto Waste Pits

Updated Jurisdictional Delineation GPS Procedures


To improve the customer service experience, the Regulatory Division has now established a Regulatory Hotline at 409-766-3869

Greetings from the Regulatory Division Chief

Dear Applicant,

Many proposed activities located near waters of the United States, including wetland areas, require a signed Department of the Army permit prior to the initiation of the project. To facilitate obtaining the necessary pemit, an application form and instruction sheets, with sample project plans, are found below. These materials outline the required submittals to our office and are provided for your use.

We have also included information regarding state approval of your proposal. Please note that the State of Texas has separate requirements for "structures" placed on or over submerged public lands. Should you have any questions regarding these requirements, please contact the appropriate state office directly.

The Regulatory Program has been established to protect the water resources of the United States. While considering your application for a permit, we will evaluate the probable impact of your proposed activity on the public interest, weighing the expected benefits that might be expected to accrue against reasonably foreseeable detriments. Concise project plans will certainly assists us in this evaluation. We also request, and consider, the views of other agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the Texas General Land Office and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

The foundations for this program are laws passed by Congress, principally Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, as amended. Within the framework of the applicable laws, it is our intention to make this program as responsive to the desires and needs of the public as possible.

To this end, we stand ready to assist you with our program in any way we can. Please do not hesitate to call the Regulatory Branch at 409-766-3869. To assist us in improving our service to you, please complete the customer service survey.

Sincerely,

Joseph A McMahan
Chief, Regulatory Division